Chilled Cider 2016 is happening on the weekend of June 18/19 once again at The Square and Compass in the village of Worth Matravers in Dorset. A long running institution, this event is now in its 14th year and features a mixture of live music and DJs, starting at midday on Saturday and running through till 4pm on the Sunday.
This year's line up includes live music from The James Brothers, Mother Ukers, Surfin Dave and Nottingham's Wholesome Fish as well as Dj sets from Guy Morley (Yam Yam), Nettie, Dansette Dave, Pete Lawrence, Spikey, Les Go and Bruce Bickerton. The event is free.
The event Facebook group is here
Campfire Convention - Pete Lawrence is about to start the fire
The Campfire Community is opening its doors to our first beta testers this weekend. It's been a long, but fruitful journey so far and founder and firestarter Pete Lawrence is delighted to start to share the project that he has been working with as an idea for almost two years.
"We plan to use the next couple of months as efficiently as can to tweak our pages, start to input posts, ideas, projects and stories and generally have a play around to sell how it all feels. No doubt there will be bugs to fix and details to re-structure but we don't want to go early and we want them to really want to come back once they've seen the community beginning to form around them. Formative and exciting days and it feels right to be launching at this time of year by inviting a few people on one by one so we can really gauge feedback."
This is an excerpt from Pete's blog, taken from Campfire's interim site
"What are we aiming for? Obviously a thriving community, a vibrant website and exciting events, but our vision can extend a lot wider. We can play our part in social change, in helping create a fairer society and in empowering our own membership, both individually and collectively by providing an environment where ideas can lead to inspiration, debate can lead to determination, co-creativity can lead to collaboration and empowerment, which in turn can lead to recognition, confidence and financial rewards too.
I have a few ideas to hopefully get the ball rolling, particularly relating to communities and specifically what we can achieve as a new community. The creative process for conceptualising can take various paths - it might well start with the absorbing and unravelling of a wealth of fast-flowing information, spotting trends, looking at what isn't working, reaching some form of consensus feeling amongst those around us. Then allowing time to mull over and meditate on the raw material - dreaming of how we might shape the future, in effect, before starting to create and shape ideas which are able to adapt and thrive in a rapidly changing world. From there, seeking out new models that can map onto a morphing social and work infrastructure, using as the central tenet the time-honoured (though previously unfashionable) altruistic notion of 'the good of all'.
Whilst there may be more scientific or logical ways of arriving at solutions, that lightbulb moment is equally likely to come from a few moments of utopian dreaming. We all know what we feel is most wrong with the world...what if our daydreams actively worked through to practical solutions which could then be applied to structures, policies, models of behaviour, interaction production, marketing, sharing or selling?
Building 'castles in the air', constructing frameworks in the mind, scenarios with a range of potential routes and outcomes can start with a daydream, but usually then require a more ordered follow-through to test methodology, concepts, budgets and timeframes. Bridging the gap between lightbulb concepts and everyday reality can often evolve more efficiently with input from others - collaborators can bring insight and new perspectives, the hive mind can add a wealth of resource and direct experience. The hidden value of the community's collective genius - or 'scenius' as Eno describes it - is immeasurable and invaluable, both in terms of the power of collective application and in the advantages of a ready-made market-place for those ideas. Ultimately, gut instinct often plays the most important part in deciding whether or not to get started and remains, to this day, a valuable business and social tool.
So the process of converting ideas into art, media or business initiative is often random but the potential of all these realisations is huge - and Britain, over time, has been well respected worldwide for its ideas, its humour, its music, its capacity to trailblazer new inspiration and fair-mindedness.
How could this apply to Campfire? It's clear that we as a community can start to form our own model that works as we move into a post capitalist world.
Naturally, we hope the Campfire project will be profitable reasonably soon after its launch and subsequently it's a question of what we elect to do with those profits and how that can feed back into the community and beyond (the global economy)."
The first Campfire Convention weekend event has been announced - August 12-14 in The Black Mountains of Herefordshire, 21 years on from the first outdoor Big Chill festival, just a few miles from the original site. The weekend will be as much about talks, debates, workshops, ideas and networking as it will about music. The setting is in fields adjoining The Bridge Inn in Michaelchurch Escley and entry requires a ticket. More info hereRead more
I'm pleased to report that Brian Eno has accepted my invitation to appear at the first Campfire Convention event as keynote speaker this August. Having worked with Brian in the latter days of The Big Chill when he brought his '77 Million Paintings' project to Eastnor Castle, it feels timely to be renewing acquaintances now that we're both involved in social and political activism. In his letter to me, Brian remarked "I'm especially happy to hear you're turning you energies towards supporting Corbyn. I hope to see lots of that kind of activity over the next few years - it's proof that the propaganda machine isn't working."
Whilst mindful that Corbyn has brought about some major changes and made things look possible that a year ago were completely out of reach, I'm also getting on with my own initiatives with preparing Campfire for imminent launch. I have been keeping Brian up to speed with my thinking in terms of the initial ideas I have for speaker and panel content at the event which are evolving on an almost daily basis - I'm hopeful that we'll arrive at a unique blend of art and politics and to be getting the real-life event off the ground in the Black Mountains, so close to where The Big Chill made its inauspicious outdoor debut 21 years ago just adds to the excitement for me.
Having heard Brian speak in London in early February at the JC4PM rally, and listened to his John Peel lecture from late last year, it became clear that we share a lot of ideas on how we should be moving forward - harnessing a collective energy via community thinking and encouraging people to find ways of making a living from doing what they enjoy. Never before has the quest for finding ways of personal and collective expression through art been so important and to that end, we're both excited about the ideas around Basic Income that have been very much on the agenda in recent months, and something along these lines could support a liberation of creativity and probably isn't as far-fetched as its critics like to think. Hopefully Campfire's online presence will offer an outlet and forum for those sparks of creativity. I certainly had that in mind as a process when the idea first formed.
Eno also prompted us - when the Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said that she thought that it was a good idea for students not to go into the arts and humanities because they didn’t offer such good job prospects as the STEM subjects, you somehow know that the time is right to not only restore a sense of balance, but to get active and rethink our relationship with culture and society. Interestingly we've both been quoting Thatcher's infamous one-liner "There's no such thing as society" recently.. that's a great motivator in itself for proving its value, in new ways and with new strength.
There's also a view gaining credence that we're already moving into a phase where capitalism isn't really working and we have to look to communications networks to lead the way, away from market forces as a primary motivator - it's coming down to networks v hierarchies in many ways, neoliberal economics colliding with network technology and many traditional, unquestioned ways of doing things are beginning to look somewhat outmoded. We need new structures for the means of production of intellectual 'goods' to move into the hands of the many.
I think many of us are also aware that we have to move fast, to make the most of the changes that are opening up everywhere. We need big visions, we need people able and willing to articulate their own utopian thinking for ways forward and who can relate them to the here and now. Making those bridges rational, grounded in economic thinking and graspable for most people is the key. Alongside that, we need new media to be organising, adding new perspective and getting the message out. Not just to middle England but globally and the internet is the way we can do that.
I'm very much looking forward to welcoming him to Campfire Convention 001.UK on August 13th.